Civil rights leader Frankie Freeman reflects on Ferguson

ST. LOUIS - The recent events in Ferguson are not lost on 97-year-old St. Louis civil rights pioneer Frankie Muse Freeman.

Freeman says there needs to be a larger focus on diversity, "As I listened and observed everything that was happening in Ferguson, I said we still, the whole city, the whole country, need to focus on the values of racial diversity."

President Lyndon Johnson appointed Freeman as the first female director of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1964. Johnson asked the commission to issue a report on racial isolation in public schools. Freeman provided a statement in the document.

Freeman says her findings could still apply today, "There were things that I said in that report in 1967 that I could say now."

She says the emphasis on racial diversity is still imperative today, "It is an urgent need that has to be accepted by government, by the people, by the churches, by the schools, by the individuals."

Freeman also raised concern about the lack of voter participation in the African American community.

"There are people who don't know anything about the government, they live in the city and they don't know what ward they're in," Freeman said. "Do your homework. If things are not going right and you have done nothing about it, then who do you blame?"

Freeman was recognized last month by the St. Louis Regional Chamber for making outstanding contributions to the region.


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